“Mr. Irrelevant.” It is a title that stems, by and large, from the history of the NFL draft and applies to the very last player drafted, who often has very long odds of making the team that drafted him. This weekend, the NHL’s “Mr. Irrelevant” is a forward from Sweden – Jesper Samuelsson. Samuelsson (not ranked by Central Scouting among European skaters) had 62 points and 73 penalty minutes in 40 games. But is he “irrelevant?” Not so fast. He will play for Timra IK in the SEL this coming season. The Wings have another graduate of that club on their roster – Henrik Zetterberg.
Indy Car Racing…or hockey player.
Atlanta had seven picks in this year’s draft, and if you read the roster of picks really fast, you might be left with the impression they selected race driver Danica Patrick with their third round pick. Nope…it was Danick Paquette.
More names… The Carolina Hurricanes dipped into the storied history of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball program for their fourth-round pick…Michal Jordan. OK, Jordan (Michal, not Michael) is a defenseman from Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League. We don’t know if he can dunk a basketball.
Great names. We don’t think any sport has names as interesting as those in hockey. Some of the examples coming out of this draft…
- Eero Elo…a 5th round draft pick at left wing out of Lukko Jr., by Minnesota
- Nathan Moon…a 4th round selection at center from Kingston in the OHL, by Pittsburgh
- Joel Champagne…a center selected by Toronto in the 5th round from Chicoutimi in the QMJHL
- Prab Rai…selected by Vancouver in the 5th round, a center out of Seattle in the WHL
- Teighan Zahn…a defenseman from Saskatoon in the WHL, taken in the 5th round by Chicago
- Geordie Wudrick…taken by Los Angeles in the 3rd round, a left wing from Swift Current in the WHL
Past as prologue. There are more than a few names with NHL pedigrees coming out of this draft. Anton Gustafsson (son of Bengt) is best known by Caps fans. But there are a lot of draftees with names shared with former hockey personalities. We can’t vouch for whether all are related to their surnamed predecessors, but here are a few…
- Justin Jokinen, LW – a 4th round pick by Buffalo
- Shawn Lalonde, D – a 3rd round pick by Chicago
- Adam Comrie, D – a 3rd round pick by Florida
- Jean-Sebastien Berube, LW – a 7th round pick by New Jersey
- Kevin Poulin, G – a 5th round pick by the Islanders
- Viktor Tikhonov, forward – a 1st round pick taken by Phoenix
- Mathieu Brodeur, D – a 3rd round pick taken by Phoenix
- Brett Hextall, C – a 6th round pick taken by Phoenix
- Julien Demers, D – a 5th round pick taken by San Jose
- Jason Demers, D – a 7th round pick taken by…San Jose (hmm…)
Just some stuff to think about on a Sunday afternoon…